I’m getting ready for another big backpacking trip and I need to sort out my gear. I was looking for a lightweight hoodie to take travelling with me, so I was thrilled when Isobaa sent me one of their merino wool hoodies for me to try out. Read on to see what I thought of the hoodie and of the company in this Isobaa review!
Lightweight Clothes for Travel
When backpacking or travelling for a long time you need to make sure that every item in your pack is worth carrying around. Finding travel clothes that are lightweight, practical and cute isn’t as easy as you might think, so I set out to find some multi-functional and light clothing that I could take with me to Australia.
I knew I wanted a lightweight hoodie, so I scoured the internet looking for recommendations. The same answer kept coming up again and again – merino wool. I’ve never had merino wool clothes before but they sounded like just what I needed!
I found this hoodie on Isobaa’s website and loved it – here is why I chose it and why it is now my favourite travel top!
What is Special about Merino Wool
The more I read about Merino wool, the more fabulous it sounded. Merino wool is a very fine wool which is naturally soft and lightweight as well as insulating and breathable. This wonder material will keep you cosy and warm when it’s cold, and it can cool you down when it gets hot.
Merino wool can also absorb moisture and wick away sweat to keep you dry and warm, even in wet or sweaty conditions. What’s more, merino wool is odour resistant. The natural fibres in merino wool resist bacteria build-up that causes unpleasant smells, meaning you still smell fresh whatever you’ve been up to, and you don’t need to wash it as often as synthetic materials.
All of this sounded too good to be true!
The drawback is the price. Merino wool is more expensive than other materials, but when you look at all the benefits you can see why merino wool costs more. Even so, merino wool clothes aren’t too much more expensive than other good quality gear, and when buying something that you need to last a long time it is worth spending a little more.
Currently, Isoabaa is also offering a 20% discount on your first purchase if you sign up to their mailing list, so that’s a nice added bonus (terms and conditions apply).
Another thing you need to watch out for with merino wool is a process called mulesing which is banned in the UK and New Zealand but still legal in Australia. I was pleased to see that Isobaa does not allow mulesing with their flock.
If you want to know more about mulesing, check this article for more information, but basically skin is cut from the rear end of the sheep which can help to prevent a parasitic infection called flystrike. However, it is usually carried out without any kind of pain relief or anaesthesia and is painful and stressful for the animals.
I am a big fan of supporting local brands, and Isobaa is a UK-based business that focuses on creating comfortable garments that are sustainable and suitable for everyone. They use recycled material where possible and use natural fibres to minimise their environmental impact.
I like the play on words in the same name and the sheep logo and branding that Isobaa use, blending the word isobar (meaning a line on a map showing atmospheric pressure) and the sheep theme to make Isobaa – every time I say it I just want to say baaaaa and do an impression of a sheep! Maybe that’s just me though…
Anyway, now for the product I chose – a merino wool hooded top.
The Women’s Merino 260 Casual Hoodie Review
I knew I wanted a zipped hoodie as I love the flexibility of being able to wear it open or zipped up, and the hood provides extra warmth on cold days, so I chose the Women’s Merino 260 Casual Hoodie. Isobaa also make lounge hoodies without a zip, or zip neck hoodies which only zip part way if you prefer those styles instead.
I’m usually a UK size 16 for tops and the large fitted me perfectly. It was flatteringly snug but not tight around my chest, with plenty of room for manoeuvre in the arms. The hoodie is a nice length too, long enough to cover my backside without hanging down too far.
There are several colours available, but I liked the dark grey “smoke” style, with blue trim. It also has two zip up pockets to keep valuables safe and sound – they are large enough to keep a phone and keys and other bits and bobs stashed away.
The Isobaa branding is nice and subtle and the hoodie is also smart enough to wear around town without feeling too outdoorsy so it is definitely multi-functional! I also love that the long sleeves have deep cuffs with integrated thumb loops, as they give my hands a little extra insulation and feel extra snug.
The hoodie is made from superfine 260gm loop back Merino, – the technical specs are 260gm 18.5 micron Superfine 100% Merino wool, with Terry loop back if that helps you decide what to go for!
This merino hoodie is classed as mid-weight so is ideal to use as a mid-layer or alone if it is warm enough outdoors. So far I’ve used it for hiking on warm-ish days worn on its own, or underneath a jacket in colder weather.
Functionality is also important for the design, and while I don’t usually get this technical with clothing, the merino wool hoodie has some extra features which I didn’t even know I needed but now I love:
Flatlock stitching helps to reduce chafing as it keeps any seams sewn up and tidy. The shoulder seams are offset so they don’t rub with a rucksack, and the care instructions are printed directly onto the garment, to avoid scratchy labels. Lots of comfort boxes being ticked here!
I am always looking for an easy life, so I was also very happy to see that the care instructions said I could machine wash my merino hooded top at 30° on a gentle cycle, although they should not be tumble dried. As it is 100% merino wool it should be quick drying although I haven’t even washed it yet!
Another very useful thing about this hoodie is that it is odour resistant. I’ve been wearing it for a month now and still haven’t washed it, although I will do it in the next few days so I hope it turns out ok!
Packaging & Manufacturing
One of my pet peeves is single-use plastic, and I was so happy when my Isobaa Merino Hoodie was delivered in a cardboard box WITH NO PLASTIC PACKAGING!
According to the printed label on the box, it is made from recycled materials, printed with non-toxic ink and is fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable – although they do encourage you to re-use and re-purpose the box before recycling. As they say – Wunderbaa!
As for the manufacturing process, Isobaa state on their website that the hoodie is “Made in China by an internationally audited factory to confirm working conditions are fair, safe, and environmentally sound”.
My Overall Isobaa Review
I love this hoodie! I wore it to travel to Europe and explored cities in the Czech Republic and Poland as well as hiking in the mountains and my merino hoodie kept me warm and stylish throughout.
It was easy to pack in my backpack when it was too warm to wear it in Spain and then when I returned home to Autumn in the UK I’ve worn it every evening relaxing on the sofa and out walking here too.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Isobaa and this women’s merino wool hoodie to anyone looking for versatile outdoor and travel gear. Check out their website to see what other products they have and to check current prices for the merino wool hooded tops.